Steve's World Blog Information and articles on cities, towns and villages around the world.

August 20, 2009

Places to Visit in Cornwall

England’s most south-westerly county, Cornwall is a popular tourist destination with some wonderful towns and resorts to visit, it generally enjoys a warmer climate than the rest of the UK and is one of the least developed of the English counties. The only city in Cornwall and the most southerly in Britain, Truro only has a population of around 20,000, it is the administrative capital of the county and grew in size and importance during the heady days of the once booming mining industry. Places to visit in Truro include the cathedral and the Royal Cornwall Museum. To the north-west of Truro is Perranporth, one of Cornwall’s popular surfing destinations, with miles of sandy beaches and hundreds of miles of fetch, this is a great surfing location. Golfers will not be disappointed either with a superb links golf course located north of the village, the families of surfers and golfers can enjoy the fine sandy beaches and pleasant climate. To the south of Truro and Perranporth is another charming little fishing village called Portreath, formerly an important shipping port for the Cornish mining industry, Portreath these days is a little more laid back, and attracts holidaymakers during the summer months. Just inland from Portreath are two formerly significant mining towns – Camborne and Redruth, both have seen decline as mining has decreased but both are currently being redeveloped. Camborne has a population of around 23,000 and together with neighbouring Redruth and Pool is the most populated area of Cornwall. A ruined Roman Villa found nearby give evidence of the town’s early history. Redruth has a number of interesting places to visit including the parish church of St Uny, Murdoch House and the Cornwall Centre and Mining Exchange. Head even further south and you will find the coastal town of St Ives, an attractive little town which was once a significant fishing port. St Ives was named after the Irish saint who came there in the fifth century, and these days is notable as an artistic centre, with artists attracted by the tranquillity and beauty of the place. St Ives is also the location of the famous St Ives September Festival. Go yet further south and you will find the towns of Penzance and Newlyn, together with the attractive fishing village of Mousehole, one of the prettiest in Cornwall, all situated around Mount’s Bay. Penzance is an ancient town, and was the location of a chapel dedicated to St Anthony over 1,000 years ago, the towns has many interesting places to visit. Newlyn has for many centuries been a significant fishing port, a tradition which still holds today, it being the largest fishing port in England. Newlyn has also been an important centre for the arts, with the Newlyn School being world famopus during the 19th century. Finally we visit the tiny fishing village of Mousehole, brought to world attention by the Penlee Lifeboat disaster of 1981, when the entire crew was lost in a storm. Today Mousehole is one of the must visit locations in the area, with its beautiful harbour and old world feel.

View a map of Cornwall here:

July 27, 2009


A beautiful rural county to the north-west of London, Buckinghamshire is one of the traditional ‘Home Counties’ of south-eastern England. The county town of Buckinghamshire (normally just referred to as Bucks) is Aylesbury, situated fairly centrally within the county. Aylesbury however was not always the county town, this honour fell to Buckingham itself, which gave Buckinghamshire its name and was the primary town from 888 until replaced by Aylesbury during the 16th century. The name of the town and the county derives from that of a wealthy landowner named Bucca, and literally means “Bucca’s Home”. Buckinghamshire was originally a sub-division of the Kingdom of Mercia between the 6th and 12th centuries, though there were of course settlers here long before this, with many Roman remains being found throughout the region, for instance in High Wycombe where there was a Roman Villa in the 2nd century AD. The county features a mix of historic and modern towns, the most modern being the huge city of Milton Keynes, which is now a unitary authority separate from the control of Bucks County Council. Milton Keynes was originally just a small village, and the name was taken by the new town (so declared in 1967) which swallowed a number of towns and villages in the area such as Bletchley, Wolverton, Stoney Stratford and Newport Pagnell. The south of the county has some very affluent towns, many of which have become commuter towns for those working in London. In the extreme south, Marlow sits attractively on the banks of the River Thames, and is a popular tourist spot as well as a pretty town, barely spoilt by development, historically it was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and was later given by William the Conqueror to his Queen Mathilda. Other affluent towns in this part of Buckinghamshire include Beaconsfield, Amersham and Chesham. Beaconsfield is very pretty, and during the times of Queen Victoria became notable as the seat of PM Benjamin Disraeli. Beaconsfield sits close to the M40 motorway, making it a desirable though expensive commuter town. Beaconsfield is also notable as the burial place of some famous people including G K Chesterton and poet Edmund Waller. Amersham and Chesham sit together to the north of Beaconsfield, both are attractive towns with perhaps Amersham taking the edge, especially the area of the Old Town which has changed little over the centuries. Amersham has two separate areas the Old Town and Amersham on the Hill (locally called Top Amersham) where the railway station is situated. Both Chesham and Amersham are joined to Central London by the underground network, making them very popular with commuters. Chesham is situated in the Chess Valley and has had human settlement since 8,000 BC, historically it was known for its religious unrest and saw a number of burnings in the 16th century including that of Thomas Harding for being a heretic and a Lollard. Overall Bucks is a pretty rural county with few large towns and only one city (Milton Keynes) it comprises mostly small, pretty villages and attractive market towns, the rolling, green Chiltern Hills add to the attraction.

Visit a dedicated Aylesbury website here:

View a map of Buckinghamshire here:

More maps here:

July 24, 2009

Leatherhead Surrey History

Filed under: England,History,Travel,United Kingdom — Tags: , , , , , , — needahand @ 4:29 pm

A small market town in Surrey, with a very interesting history is Leatherhead, located 4 miles south of Epsom. Though probably seeing human habitation as far back as the Neolithic Era, and certainly known to the Romans (Stane Street passes nearby), the first mention of Leatherhead was in Anglo-Saxon times, appearing in King Alfred’s will and being bequeathed to his son Edward. Later appearing in the Domeday Book as Leret, it was held by Osbert de Ow, and even this far back had a church. Its position on a crossroads and on a ford of the River Mole, led it to becoming a market town and Henry III granted Leatherhead the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. The Running Horse pub which still stands in Leatherhead today dates from 1403 and has been mentioned in poems and writings over the centuries. The Swan Hotel was a popular coaching station beside the River Mole, it declined only after the arrival of the railway in the 19th century. Leatherhead’s charming old centre was mostly ruined in the 1970’s and 1980’s as it was developed as a pedestrianised area with little thought for the history of this charming town.

More Leatherhead History.

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